Soil Isnít Sexy

Richard (Rick) Mills
Ahead of the Herd

Page 1 of 2

 

As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information

 

After watching Interstellar w/Matthew McConaughey I was motivated to update and republish an article, Between Us and Extinction, I wrote a couple of years ago. Rick Mills

 

“Soil is the earth’s fragile skin that anchors all life on Earth. It is comprised of countless species that create a dynamic and complex ecosystem and is among the most precious resources to humans…Half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years.” WWF

 

Desertification is a phenomenon that ranks among the greatest environmental challenges of our time, unfortunately most people haven't heard of it or simply don’t understand it.

 

Desertification and land degradation is a global issue with desertification already affecting one quarter of the total land surface of the globe today

 

Today the pace of arable land degradation is estimated at 30 to 35 times the historical rate. Land degradation is costing US$490 billion per annum and desertification is degrading more than 12m hectares of arable land every year - the equivalent of losing the total arable area of France every 18 months.

 

“Every morsel of food we eat . . . our clothes . . . our houses and most everything that's in them…each scrap of paper, from birth certificates to books to dollars…our fuel…even the very oxygen we breath: All of it comes from plants, trees…and topsoil.

 

When our European ancestors arrived on this continent, our topsoil averaged around 18 inches in depth. With our intensive agricultural practices, we've eroded it to around eight inches…that's all that's left between us and world disaster. When that eight inches goes, you and I go…There are innumerable examples of civilizations which have already traveled this route. Trees were always the first to go. As the local populations grew, timber was needed for warmth, cooking, housing, and lime burning. Solomon cut the famous cedars of Lebanon for his great temples. Rome deforested southern Europe from Spain to Palestine. The whole of North Africa was cleared to plant more wheat for the expanding Roman population…and replanting was unheard of.

When the trees were gone, topsoil loss inevitably followed. Exposed to rain, wind, and sun, it lost its organic matter, its humus, its soil life…the spongy quality that gives the earth its ability to hold water through droughts…The soil dried out and
became dead dust. The next wind blew it away,or the next

rain washed it down the river…and the earth died.” Eddie Albert, actor and amateur ecologist

 

According to a study by the United Nations, 20 percent of our farmland, 30 percent of our forest and 10 percent of world’s grassland are degrading worldwide. Over the past four decades, 15 percent of the Earth's land area - an area larger than the United States and Mexico combined - have been degraded through human activities.

 

Severe land degradation is now affecting 168 countries across the world, up from just a 110 a few short years ago.

 

Desertification doesn’t refer to the advance of deserts which can and do expand naturally. Desertification is a different process where land in arid or semi-dry areas becomes degraded - the soil loses its productivity and the cover vegetation disappears or is degraded to the point where wind and water erosion can carry away the topsoil leaving behind a highly infertile mix of dust and sand.

 

 

 

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